The revelations in the CRU emails likely drove the public one more step down a path in which its perception of science and the scientist have been radically transformed. The beneficent guardian of truth has become, at best, a self-serving ally of remote elites, and at worst the amoral lackey of money and power. The transformation has been partial and erratic, and at any given time can exclude favored fields of science. This doesn’t matter in the larger picture. Legitimacy, like marriage, is a yes-or-no proposition. You can’t be partially married, and you can’t be partially legitimate. I could trace the crisis of authority of the scientific establishment indirectly to that moment in 1919, and the expectations formed in the mind of the public regarding the power of science and the nature of the scientist. These expectations were wholly unrealistic, but a lack of realism has characterized the public’s relationship to the great institutions. In the past, this inflated the prestige of the institutions. Today, it has left them exposed to accusations of conspiracy and fraud. The failure of the scientist to live up to his exalted image has eroded the legitimacy of his position, I suspect to a fatal extent.
Emphasis is mine. Also fascinating is the story of Eddington’s confirmation of General relativity and the measure of faith in the theory that was necessary to correctly measure the effect — for example, here (pdf).